July 30, 2011

Picture it

A dozen Krispy Kreme glazed donuts weighs a pound and a half. By weight, I've lost the equivalent of 1200 donuts.

And since you have to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound (and each donut is 200 calories), that means I've burned the equivalent of 2625 donuts.

What else does a weight of 150 pounds look like?
  • Three small bales of hay
  • 600 sticks of butter
  • Two of my ten-year-old brother
  • The complete Oxford English Dictionary
  • One complete Encyclopedia Britannica, plus a 3-gallon tub of super premium ice cream and a human head
  • Twenty average-sized (7.5 lb) newborn human children
  • One average 5'11" fashion model, plus a cinder block
  • One average 5'4" adult woman, plus the average weight of a human skin
  • One newborn giraffe, plus ten racks of baby back ribs
  • Two Irish Setters, plus two Chihuahuas
  • Ten bald eagles, plus an ostrich egg, a Guinea pig, and the average 2-year-old human child
  • A 2-month-old horse, plus a small bale of hay
  • Three elephant hearts, plus one sperm whale's brain and two Guinea pigs
  • Four mid-size microwaves, plus two average human brains
  • Over 6.5 times the amount of pizza the average American eats in a year
  • 15 times the amount of chemical additives the average American consumes in a year
And, my personal favorite way to visualize a difference of 150pounds:

Progress photos! Love them.

What about you? Using this list (scroll a little to find it!), share your own creative visual representation of your weight loss!

July 29, 2011

Roses and thorns

I don't think I could have picked a better week to take a little break from daily blogging. I've had a lot on my mind, and I think that if I chose to write on the topics while they were fresh in my mind, it wouldn't have been nearly as well-articulated as it should have been.

That, and it would have been mostly silly complaints, which I know folks wouldn't want to read almost as much as I would hate to write like that. I've missed producing daily content, but at the same time, I've been focusing on analyzing situations for myself without synthesizing my ideas into a blog post.

I have a lot to be angry and stressed and frustrated about this week, but I also have a lot to be grateful for.
  • I got a job offer from my boss at the university, but it isn't a full-time appointment - only one class for one semester (last year's contract was six for a full year). I'm grateful to have something at all, but I'm not in the clear just yet. I'll likely need a third job or a roommate, and I'm looking into applying for food stamps. But - I'm going to survive. I'm not afraid of working hard, and I'm not ashamed of doing whatever I need to in order to get by. Plus, I still have the part-time article writing job, and I'm still applying for other full-time positions.
  • After two long and silent days, Matt and I talked on Tuesday night. I explained to him exactly why I didn't want to see him anymore, and he was very sincerely apologetic. As sad as I am that things didn't work out, I'm still very glad that I chose to stand up for myself and walk away instead of staying in a situation that wasn't ideal.
  • My weekly weight loss has been a pound at best for the past month and a half, which wouldn't be bad if I was trying my hardest, but I've had a lot of slip ups and made a lot of less-than-stellar choices. Everyone's situation is different, and personally, I'm not happy with a one pound loss when I know that I could be doing better. But, positively, my mind has done a lot of long overdue catching up in the past few weeks, and my brain now visualizes myself as looking like I do now, instead of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger.
And speaking of weight loss, this morning is weigh-in #52. One year. And I'm down one pound, for a total loss of exactly 150 pounds. Interesting, since I hit exactly 100 at the six month anniversary. My "rebirthday" is Sunday, and while I'm not sure yet how I'll be spending the day, I certainly have a lot to celebrate. I'm in a completely different place than I was last year, in terms of both mind and body. I'm smaller. I'm saggier. I'm happier. I'm more active. I'm scared. I'm speechless. And I'm proud. There have been incredible challenges and innumerable triumphs, and even though I've fallen short recently, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I have good days, and I have bad days. But I never give up, I never ever consider it, and I never plan on doing so.

I don't know if the girl who set out on this mission a year ago would even recognize me now - both physically, and in terms of my emotional progress and newfound determination to do right by myself and my body, no matter what. That girl stumbled a lot, and even though this one does too, my new self is strong enough to pick herself up and keep going.

One year down, the rest of my life to go.

July 27, 2011


The past couple of days have been surprisingly difficult. Matt and I weren't officially in a relationship, so I didn't break up with him, per se. But we spent a lot of time together these past two months, and now there's a lot of empty space to reacquaint myself with.

I didn't cry at first, but as people in my offline circle got wind of what happened and started to ask about it, the tears came. A friend of mine from my Monday night conversation hour knew something was up and asked about my problèmes in his broken French, and my eyes welled up as I quickly dismissed it - je peux pas en parler maintenant. I just can't talk about it now. I cried when my dad called to talk about it - I kept it controlled on the phone with him, and let it overtake me as soon as we hung up.

Monday I was strong with my eating (and even survived a trip to a pizza place without eating a single thing), but I fell apart a little yesterday. It didn't feel like a binge, I didn't want to hurt or be numb. It just felt like I could eat and eat and not feel full, or even simply satisfied. I became mindful of what was happening and stopped, logged the damage on MyFitnessPal, and made some fun crayons like Christina made with her son, all while drinking lots of water.

By the time the crayons went into the oven, the empty feeling transitioned to full and I was ready to reflect on the situation with a bit more mental clarity.

I laid on the couch with the sun warming my face, closed my eyes, and wondered if I could even imagine how much it would hurt to lose someone I was with for longer than six and a half weeks. I thought about how upset we all were at my grandfather for withdrawing from life after my grandmother died, and how they were together for nearly sixty years. Mine, comparably, is an incredibly small loss, and I suddenly felt very selfish.

I also thought about a recurring idea I've pondered since starting on my journey: the connections to my thirteen-year-old self. I've become upset quite a few times, frustrated at things I'm learning at 24 that I should have found out as a teenager - dating stuff, mostly. If I had gone out more with boys when I was younger, this wouldn't be new. I would be less awkward, less confused, less naive. I'd have an established recovery plan for situations like this, something tried-and-true that I perfected in high school or college.

But you know, a lot of things would have been easier to figure out at thirteen. Like the fact that binge eating isn't a solution to my emotional problems. Or that gaining weight and hiding from the world isn't going to protect me from being hurt. Even if I dated dozens of boys before Matt, even if I were 13 or 18 or 90, this would still be difficult. I'd cry. I'd seek comfort. And I'd eventually pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back on track with my life. (If there's one thing I've gotten good at this past year, that would be it.)

I can't change the fact that I spent most of my life avoiding real world experiences. But I'm learning, slowly but surely, how to feel my emotions and not eat them. And I'll learn how to recover and carry on from heartbreaking experiences. The emotional weight loss, like the physical, involves a lot of high-intensity workouts, for sure. I know where I'd like to end up, but I have to pace myself if I want to get there in one piece.

And I'm so, so, endlessly grateful for the support of this community. Thank you - all of you - for spotting me.

July 25, 2011

BTH: Week Four

My positive picture for the week:

I went to the Garfield Park Conservatory on Saturday since it was the first day of their annual honey sale - they have hives there and sell their honey as a fundraiser since admission to the Conservatory is free. It's a bit expensive but very delicious and a jar lasts me all year since I only use it in my tea, and it's a great local cause. It's especially important this year because most of the Conservatory is currently closed - we had a big hailstorm about a month ago and the glass roof of the antique building was shattered in a lot of places. This is the first time I've been back since the incident, and it was pretty sad to see. Luckily, the outdoor gardens are still thriving.

I liked the variety of colors, between the blue stone walkway, my loud yellow skirt, and my green umbrella (it's been raining a lot here lately, on and off).

What have you done this week towards your goals?

This week, I worked on goal #3 - stop following the rules. Stanier's explanation of this is as follows:
With the exception of gravity, almost all of the rules are negotiable, someone just makes them up. It's no longer about what you can't do, it's about what you can do.
With blogging, I've set a lot of rules for myself. With very few exceptions, I've had a post every day at 7:30 a.m. for nearly a year. Due in part to recent events, it's starting to feel like a stressful chore instead of something I love and look forward to. So as an early rebirthday present to myself, I'm going to cut back on posting. To start with, I'll be taking Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays off. I'll see how it goes after a week, then proceed from there. I can't quit for good - I *do* love it, and I need the accountability. But for now, this is what I need to do to preserve my sanity a little.

What did you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

This week's good feelings are two-fold. First, I stood up for my principles and broke up with Matt - surprisingly incredibly hard, but I need to trust that it was the right thing to do. And second, in the aftermath, I have not binged yet. I can't make promises for tomorrow or even five minutes from now, but in this moment, I'm being strong and choosing to feel my emotions and not eat them.

Do you exercise? What is your favourite kind and why?

I love being active in general - I used to be so lazy, and now it feels like I can never sit still. I think my favorite is running - after years of being so sedentary, I feel incredibly powerful every time I push myself forward, mile after mile. I like that running can make my worries disappear for a while (nothing relieves stress like stomping down your feet for an hour), and I like that it can be done alone, with a friend, or with a crowd. I like racing, because it makes me feel like a well-rounded individual: I was always The Brainy Kid, but racing makes me feel like an athlete. Every finish line feels amazing, but the fact that I even cross the starting lines never fails to make me feel like a success.

There are loads of fantastic bloggers here in the Beat the Heat competition, which blog or blogs have you discovered through the challenge that you particularly enjoy? Show that person some love!

I'm not one to pick favorites. What I like best about these challenges is that everyone's blog is different - some people blog about weight loss, others art, others just life in general. I think everyone's blog has something interesting to offer.

What song makes you want to dance at the moment?

To be honest, I don't feel much like dancing. Between my job situation, my family situation, and now the boy situation, I've been mostly listening to the Magnetic Fields, the Velvet Underground, and Leonard Cohen - total Debbie Downer music. Sam introduced me to the Magnetic Fields and told me perfect because when you're sad, you don't always want cheerful pick-me-up music - you need to feel the sadness a little, totally experience it, and then dry your face and carry on. This is part of me feeling my feelings - three minutes spent bawling my eyes out to a sad song is three minutes I'm not binge eating.

July 24, 2011

Loaded 'n' oated pizza

First of all, I'm super thrilled about the responses to yesterday's blog challenge - I'll be working on developing the idea this week, so stay tuned!

I haven't been terribly adventurous with my cooking lately - it's just been too hot. Lots of salads, sandwiches, and chicken breasts on the George Foreman grill. Since I've had some trouble sleeping, I made four portions of rice early on last week (since it was "only" about 88º at 4:30 a.m.) and had that throughout the week, either tossed up with beans in salads or along side my grilled chicken. Satisfying, yes, but boring.

So for this week's recipe, I made one from the Hungry Girl cookbook and website: Loaded 'n' Oated Pizza. I was inspired by Hungry Girl Fan, one of my favorite recipe blogs.

It was an okay size for a lunch - the cheese on it is one single piece of string cheese all pulled apart, if that's any measure. I'd likely double it for a dinner - or even just one and a half times the recipe and a salad!

I liked that it was quick and didn't require the oven - cooked in a non-stick pan on the stovetop - she suggested baking it just long enough to melt the toppings, but I just covered the pan for a minute or two. Not worth heating the oven (and, subsequently, my whole apartment) to 400º for some melted cheese.

I thought it might be odd with an oat and cereal crust, but it was surprisingly delicious. I didn't add spices to it, so it was a little sweet even, and I bet it would be good for breakfast as a fruit pizza topped with Greek yogurt and some berries! I also liked that the crust held together well - my attempts at cauliflower crust pizza have been delicious, but haven't turned out as solid as I'd like. This one, I took one bite of like a lady, with a fork...

... then I picked it up and ate it like a real piece of pizza. Definitely satisfied my pizza craving!

I'm not crazy about alfredo, and as delicious and reasonably on-plan as Laughing Cow wedges are, I don't feel okay having them in the house right now, so I used some tomato sauce I made a few weeks ago and froze for later use. I also used two egg whites instead of 1/4 cup of Egg Beaters.

I'm very pleased with the way this recipe turned out - a lot of the Hungry Girl are hit-or-miss for me, as she tends to use a lot of artificial sweeteners and low-fat/fat-free ingredients, which I try to avoid (I'd rather have less of something real than all I can eat chemicals). As a pizza lover who has trouble justifying how many calories pizza crust has, I'll definitely be making this recipe again!

What about you? Have you ever made any of the Hungry Girl recipes?